King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at New York's Forest Hills Stadium

 


The merch booth!

A friend and I travelled to New York city to watch a show that was years in the making. Over three years ago, we originally had a plan to see King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in NYC but we were stopped by other obligations and then the pandemic happened. Finally, we got tickets to the Forest Hills Stadium show on October 21st. I was stoked and even more excited when Black MIDI announced they would be the opener a few weeks ago.

The venue is converted from an old tennis arena. As a result, the viewing areas are divided into stone seating stands and a boxy, flat standing area for general admission. We were situated in the middle of the floor on top of old tennis courts and we vibed along with the two openers, Leah Senior and Black MIDI. These two artists warmed up the crowd. Leah had people grooving back and forth and Black MIDI started the mosh pit crowd. The sets were relatively short and tight. Leah's group only played a few short songs without much banter. Black MIDI played fast and hard with limited time to jam. Soon after lights and smoke effects were tested, KGatLW jumped out on stage. They started off the show with a thrashing rendition of The Dripping Tap. The crowd was cheering and jeering as the mosh pit grew to encompass most of the front half of the floor area. I had been talking with some folks nearby me right before the KGatLW set started, they had grabbed drinks and were curious if the crowd would be rowdy. I looked their way and said "... there will be a mosh pit, people will get rowdy"; and I was right. I had a great time and stayed out of most of the mess. The songs were played with care and technicality. The majority of tracks chosen from KGatLW's discography were from their heavier and longer tracks. It was rather apparent that they focused on more recent and popular tracks that they had been working on. I expected as much and they did their older songs with just as much perfection. 10/10 concert experience, I am a frugal man, but I spent a pile of pennies on a couple band T-shirts. Who knows when I will see this combination of artists again?

The next morning, I ate at a greasy spoon diner in Manhattan and roamed the city for a few hours before taking Amtrak's Northeast Regional back to Boston.


The setlist found after the show, crumpled by the mosh



Statue of Liberty from Battery Park in Manhattan, NYC, NY


Stage prior to show



Herbert the rabbit and me on the floor

A Great, Great Barrington Trip

 


I am a lucky guy to have some good folks in my friend circle. This past weekend, myself and a few others were able to rent a cabin near Great Barrington, MA. We enjoyed the sight of colorful leaves and sounds of falling water. We sat in comfy chairs and ate shared dishes while we discussed life, family, friends, work, and all the other details. 


A few from the living room


The hiking party trekking part of the Appalachian Trail


Bash Bish falls


The valley of Bash Bish falls looking out towards the Catskill Mtns east range


A toasty campfire

The Winds Blow a Little Colder

 


The mushrooms are popping free from the dirt and the temperature has dropped quite a bit these past two weeks. Fall is here and life is good. I visited Michigan last week and saw my family. My brother has returned from a special deployment and it sounds like he is going to take a well deserved break from active duty. My work keeps me occupied and I feel like there's always more to be done, that's just how it goes. A friend of mine came over last night and we talked for a few hours. We'll be going on a trip next month to NYC to watch a concert. We are planning to take the Northeast Regional Amtrak train. I'm looking forward to it since I've never rode a long distance train in the US. I rode a bunch of great trains in Japan when I was there for a couple weeks a few years ago. The train tickets there and back were $100 and the time to arrive is similar to a bus which would be $60+. So there is a little bit of a premium. That's okay. I can afford little luxuries. The concert will be a blast. 



The western view from Mt. Stinson in New Hampshire


My silly photo, I'm kneeling on more rocks below this small bluff



My soon-to-be office space in Wilmington, MA



A view of Lansing, MI, from above


A view from my mom and Brian's house

August Travels

 

Thomas Cole painting at the BMA, painted prior to his famous series on civilization


On a work trip, I spent the last few days in Aberdeen, Maryland, near Baltimore. My company Physical Sciences, Inc. developed an atmospheric water extraction device and since I had a large role in the mechanics, electronics, and testing of the device, I was a prime candidate to unpack, prep, and train a group at the Army Test Center to use the PSI device. The Army Test Center (ATC) operates within the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), a multi-branch base with an airfield, firing grounds, and soldier training facilities. It is one of the few places in the US where live tank and howitzer ammunition is fired. As I trained staff of the ATC on how to operate the atmospheric water extractor, I would hear booms and feel shockwaves from a mile or two away. I had a good time and met some very interesting people who help make sure the US armed forces use reliable and quality gear. I learned a lot about what features make a good system for field use. I might have to come back down to Maryland if something breaks, so hopefully that doesn't happen. My brother will be shortly on his way back to Fort Stewart near Savannah, GA. He has been spending hours and hours in Germany on special deployment. Hopefully he doesn't have to go back to where he was sent for work either. I'm guessing the Ukraine-Russian war ends in a messy ceasefire with the pre-war borders. It seems to me to be a complete waste of people and resources for some ideologues in the Kremlin. Too unfortunate for the working people of both nations.

I got a rental car for my time near Baltimore. The total cost was > $700 for the whole week! They tacked on a hundred in fees, a hundred for being 24 years old (and not 25), and another hundred in taxes and millages. Rather a lot, I think? I haven't had a conventional rental car before. I used to use ZipCar in the Boston area, but cancelled my subscription after I got my Rav4. 

On the last day of my trip, I visited the Susquehanna State Park, walked part of the Mason-Dixon trail, and saw the Baltimore Museum of Art. All in all a good trip.


Cool table at the BMA

Grist mill by the Susquehanna river. Used to be owned by the family of a dirty union army turncoat

Small tributary of the susquehanna

June Travels

 


June was a good busy month. The weather was mostly nice, I feel productive, and not too many issues. It started off with the belated graduation ceremonies aftermath of many old colleagues getting sick (post the great gatherings), and later ended with a trip to Seattle, Michigan, and then back to Boston. I like to think that things are in balance in my life and I worry about the state of things beyond my tiny bubble. I worry about the nature of the content I read, watch, and listen. I wonder about the targeted advertisements I receive. But in general, life is good. I was in Seattle to visit a subcontractor on a program my company is working on. The company works on a variety of outdoor and expeditionary equipment. I had a good time visiting their facilities and seeing the city. I found the manufacturing aspects of this subcontractor particularly interesting since Physical Sciences is primarily focused on the R&D side of products. I saw staff hard at work on CNC machines, presses, fume hoods, etc. In the city, I visited some friends from college and we got some food and drinks. I was welcomed into the home of a friend and I am very thankful for all their hospitality I received. When I left Seattle I was already quite tired, when I landed in Michigan I hardly made it back to my mom's house before falling asleep. I picked up Ally a few hours later and we enjoyed a short vacation. She helped argue for me to put my work laptop down and I did so most of the time (I did send one email). On the third day in the Midwest, we drove down to Ohio to visit the rollercoaster theme park, Cedar Point. It was a blast and I tried to disassociate on the top of each ride so I wouldn't calculate the odds of a fatality incident as the g-force hit my body. Back in MA, things are back to the routine again for my better health. Travels are great, for some time.


Mom's new puppy Phoebe


Photo of side street in Seattle International District with Mt Rainier off in the distance

Vacation to Montreal and Acadia

 


This past Easter weekend, Ally and I drove from Boston to Montreal for two days and then drove to Acadia National Park for another two days. It was a great vacation and we got a lot of steps under our feet even with 17 hrs of combined driving. The idea of this vacation was rather spontaneous. A few weeks ago, we discussed the idea of going out on a little trip since she had a few days off from work. In the beginning of the conversation, we considered NYC, DC, and more southern cities to get a bit more warmth and sun. However, the idea of visiting a city with a different language and a national park won over those ideas. 

We spent our time in Montreal asking people in cafes if they spoke English; we also visited the Notre Dame cathedral, old Montreal, Mont Royale, the great subway system, and a few public markets as well as an art museum. 

We left late on Sunday and drove straight to a rest stop outside Bangor, Maine. There was a three hour stretch of time where we were in the middle-of-nowhere with deep, thick pine forests all around us. As the sun set over the forests, we saw large mountains off in the distance. At the rest stop we slept in the back of the car and then visited a Denny's in the morning. Following this hearty breakfast, we hiked two mountains at the park (including some rock faces) and we were amazed by the views. The following morning we got up early to summit mount Cadillac at sunrise. We took the north ridge trail up the mountain and it was astounding.

Great trip :)





King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at New York's Forest Hills Stadium

  The merch booth! A friend and I travelled to New York city to watch a show that was years in the making. Over three years ago, we original...